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Thread: Does learning to "see" simply come with time/practice of drawing from observation?

  1. #27
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    ^^ I am pretty much exactly this.

    I read Betty Edwards' book, first, which gave me enough confidence to persevere in trying to draw, then started on checking out Loomis' books on anatomy and perspective, among others.

    Unfortunately with no background or prior experience, I felt like I was understanding and retaining very little, because while they offered a great deal of knowledge, I (personally) require at least a little direction to get anywhere, or at least feel like I am getting soewhere.

    I end up flitting from subject to subject without any idea of how it all fits together and wasting my time, IME (not limited to drawing). So I seriously drew for a couple of months, then stopped for ~6 and am now giving it another shot.

    Maybe I should have waited until I had a little practice/skill/experience before coming to a pro site like CA (dunno how many bare newbies you get here, or whether it's expected that you have been drawing for a short while, at least).

    Either way, I've contacted a few tertiary schools locally and hopefully should be able to find something there, since the whole "self-directed" thing leaves me a bit lost unless I'm at a certain point already.
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  3. #28
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    I'm not a Betty Edwards hater, I read the book and it helped me understand the very basics such as the perception of edges, angles, proportions, etc. It's a good start.
    But I have a major in Neruoscience and a Master's degree in Biomedical Sciences, and let me tell you that the neuroscience in Betty's book is absolute garbage.

    I studied Roger Sperry Experiments (the "split brain" experiment) in Psych 101, and Betty completely misunderstood the sense of the experiment. Sperry simply proved that the production of the language is located in the left hemisphere (the Broca's area in the frontal lobe), and people with split brains can't name object that they see on the left visual field (everything you see on the left visual field "goes" to the right hemisphere area that deals with images). The split brain experiment demonstrated that the right hemisphere can't produce language. That's it. It never showed that the left hemisphere doesn't have the ability to draw.

    Drawing is a really complicated process that goes on in every part of the brain:
    First the visual cortex in the occipital lobe (the back of your brain) receives the images the eyes see (or it imagines things to draw).
    Second, some "associative areas" of the brain receive the information processed by the visual cortex, and join them with other information (see below*); the associative areas are scattered ALL OVER the brain, not just in the right hemisphere;
    Third, the motor cortex corresponding to your dominant hand receives the information from the associative areas and moves your arm and hand in order to move the pencil (if you are right handed, the Left hemisphere moves it).
    *What goes on on the associative areas: While your hand is moving your eyes constantly look at the subject and your drawing and send feedback information to adjust the motion (simply put, the eyes see if your drawing the line the right way and send information to adjust the motion accordingly); also the cerebellum is deeply involved in the action of creating the motion, contributing to the awareness of your body parts in space. More over, while you draw, you usually think about images, you talk to yourself, so the frontal lobe (which is where the 99% of the "thinking" happens) is deeply involved, and if you aren't just thinking about images, but you actually speak to yourself in your head, then the language area is in the left hemisphere is involved. All these parallel activities (the feedback from your eyes, and the "thinking") send information to your associative areas , where all the data are merged and sent to the motor area that modifies the motion of your hand accordingly.

    So, as you can see, the act of drawing is much more complex than saying "the right brain draws and we have to shut down the left brain".. this is simply not true.
    Please guys, let's stick to art, to painting and drawing, and leave the neuroscience to other message boards.....
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  5. #29
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    Nice bit of Betty-bashing going on here.

    From one noob to another: Yes, seeing comes from practicing.

    I can only speak from my own (limited) experience, but as a you are drawing you will make mistakes and you will stop and ask yourself "why is this not working? why does this not look professional?". You will compare your drawings to the drawings in Loomis's or Bridgeman's or whatever artist you want and try to spot the differences. You might have to do this once, you might have to do it a hundred times, but eventually you will spot something that you consistently keep doing wrong. So you try to correct what you spotted. But still, your drawing doesn't look professional, so you compare again and spot something new. After a while you will notice all kinds of very subtle details that you figured didn't matter, but they do.

    For a great part drawing is more about learning to see your own mistakes than it is about seeing the object. Your mistakes will show you what you think you see vs what is actually there.

    As far as seeing shapes in your head, I suppose that will come. At least simple shapes. I have no problem imagining simple objects (ball, square, wegde, pyramid, ...) and rotating them in my mind, but a full face in all its detail? No way. That's what thumbnails are for. Many small quick drawings to help your mind visualize what it is you want to draw.

    My suggestion: Pick a topic of study (anatomy, portraits, landscapes, perspective, ...), get some books on the topic and go them through cover to cover. Done those? Get some more books or go the old ones through again? Still no pro in that specific field? More books. I suggest one field, because if you spread yourself over several topics you will notice very little progress and you will lose your motivation eventually. Once you are good at one thing you'll have at least one part of your drawings that looks good and you can pull the main focus to that until the rest catches up.

    Personally I very much like books like Loomis's because he has drawings that you can "copy" and you can see how he solved problems of conveying certain shapes with very simple lines and value.
    Last edited by Kweckduck; July 24th, 2012 at 05:18 AM. Reason: grammer
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  6. #30
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    I'm neutral... there's things I don't like about Betty Edwards book and it's not my favorite book by far. However, it's one of the most easily accessible books out there.

    Pretty much any library has had this book on their shelves so it's much easier to recommend than other books...because of what I'm going to talk about below.

    You don't have to go with legally dubious territory with Loomis - because they're reprinting the books. We've now run into the problem that they are finally giving people what they want, and what happens - first thing out of someone's mouth most of the time is to go download them. Granted not all the books are out, but it' feels like a fight to get people to do the right thing when the "books are free".

    Yes you want to tell people with Edwards book ignore the psychobabble and do the exercises, but I haven't seen anyone damaged by Edwards book, I've seen more people encouraged to draw and look for other books or materials to study from. Just because I found better books doesn't mean it was gonna kill someone to look at Edwards book if they just started out.
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  8. #31
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    Just on that, Titan Publishers are set to have the remaining Loomis books
    (Fun with a Pencil) out by 2013.

    But as Armand and I chatted about recently, it will be interesting to see if
    they make any edits regarding some of the content....
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  9. #32
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    More over, while you draw, you usually think about images, you talk to yourself, so the frontal lobe (which is where the 99% of the "thinking" happens) is deeply involved, and if you aren't just thinking about images, but you actually speak to yourself in your head, then the language area is in the left hemisphere is involved.
    This is really interesting. At certain points while drawing I only feel like I've reached "my place" when I turn all this extraneous noise off. I teach my students to get to a place, kind of like the zone for athletes, where everything is a purely visual as possible.

    There are other stages where noise in the background helps me stay in an intense state for repetitive work etc. I've often thought that the background noise is helping me drown out the other voices in my brain. Interesting.
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  11. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Just on that, Titan Publishers are set to have the remaining Loomis books
    (Fun with a Pencil) out by 2013.

    But as Armand and I chatted about recently, it will be interesting to see if
    they make any edits regarding some of the content....
    By the way I wrote to them about 3 dimensional drawing, the version of Successful Drawing revised by Loomis himself and so far they have not responded.

    I'm of two minds on this since I want the books to be financially successful for Titan but damn it print the right versions. Its obviously someone who could give a shit not doing due diligence on the research.
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  12. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    By the way I wrote to them about 3 dimensional drawing, the version of Successful Drawing revised by Loomis himself and so far they have not responded.

    I'm of two minds on this since I want the books to be financially successful for Titan but damn it print the right versions. Its obviously someone who could give a shit not doing due diligence on the research.
    Yeah, I was going to bump that thread and ask if you had heard, but
    I figured you would have told us if you did.

    The alternative would be to try one of the other addresses...but I get
    the feeling that would also just be spinning your wheels. It is definitely
    part of the Loomis collection. I'll drop them a mail as well for what it's worth.
    Perhaps other interested parties could do the same.
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  13. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Just on that, Titan Publishers are set to have the remaining Loomis books
    (Fun with a Pencil) out by 2013.

    But as Armand and I chatted about recently, it will be interesting to see if
    they make any edits regarding some of the content....
    What's wrong with the content? I have most of Loomis' books in PDF (naughty, I know) and am slowly collecting the ones I have been reading (gotta love bookdepository).

    And how did this turn into another Betty Edwards thread? >.<
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  14. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkSturm View Post
    What's wrong with the content?
    pp. 84-85 in Fun with a Pencil could be an issue.

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
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    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
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  16. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    pp. 84-85 in Fun with a Pencil could be an issue.
    Granted, but it was the time period....the same with a lot of Frazetta's work.

    Personally, I'm not offended by it and I'd rather have the drawings in than out.
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  17. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    pp. 84-85 in Fun with a Pencil could be an issue.
    "Now let's mix up the races!"

    No, Loomis, noooo!
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  18. #39
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    They kept the "Negroid" around in Hogarth's books...so who knows... but this one is more than one so I'm sure there will be some "fun" there.
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